Beneath The Real
~reviewed by Joel Steudler
When is the best time to stage an intervention for someone you care about? Probably before they go out and do something awful to hurt themselves or have a negative impact on the lives of innocent people. Someone should definitely have intervened before Tasos Iliopoulos laid down the vocal tracks for Morning After's new album Beneath The Real. His singing (and growling) couldn't be more comically horrifying even if he specifically set out to mockingly imitate a metal singer. Guitarist/everything-else-but-drums guy Melios Iliopoulos is Tasos's brother. Causing discord between family members is never desirable, but really man - smack your sibling around a bit and knock some sense into him! He's ruining your chances at finding an audience.
It's quite difficult to ignore the vocals and hear the music beneath, but my highly trained ear is up to the task. Morning After plays a mostly pedestrian combination of American nu-metal (think: Linkin Park) and 'classic' metal (think: hair band from the 80's. Warrant, maybe. Great White, even). Mr. Melios handles the instruments with aplomb, professionally executing his duties on all fronts. The production is fine, rendering a clear sound. If the compositions were more atful or interesting, I'd have enjoyed Beneath The Real more, but they are more workmanlike than they are enthralling.
The vocals, though... the vocals. Maybe I can find something nice to say. Mr. Tasos stays on key, occasionally. He could be mistaken for a dog during some of his high notes. Wait... that wasn't nice. I'll try again. He theatrically over-emotes every single lyric. Augh! I can't seem to come up with anything else nice to say. Even his growly monster vocals are funny rather than scary or powerful. At least he doesn't have a high pitched screech. His mid-range vocal tone is not ear shattering. That is the best I can do for positive comments.
I can't recommend this album to anyone. Maybe people in Greece like this sort of thing, I don't know. I do know that when judging Beneath The Real against any number of genres of metal to which it is similar, it falls flat. The hideous singing totally overshadows any positive merits the music exhibits. Melios Iliopoulos is, at least, a skilled musician. I hate to pit brother against brother, but Melios should run away from home and join a real band. He's doing himself no favors by keeping things all in the family.
Morning After is:
Black Lotus Records:
The End Records (US):